29 September 2020 (Tuesday) - Another Early Shift

"er indoors TM" woke me in the small hours when she and Treacle had something of a contretemps. I'm not sure what it was about, but I wish they wouldn't fall out in the middle of the night quite so often.

I nodded off, and slept through until the alarm went off. That rarely happens.

I came downstairs. When I come downstairs I do so in the dark and turn the light on when I get to the living room. Some people might say it was a sixth sense that prompted me to turn the light on before I got to the bottom of the stairs; I would say it was my sense of smell. I came downstairs to find a turd bonanza. Having been out in the small hours, EI thought Sid could be trusted out of the non-carpeted areas of the house. That was a mistake. There was a trail of twelve turds scattered from the front door, through the hallway, through the living room and the kitchen, culminating in a rather spectacular dump by the back door. Ranging in size from pea to (splattered) cricket ball, it all took some clearing up. And it was rather disconcerting to end up hoping that I'd got it all rather than being certain.

 

Over a bowl of disappointing muesli I watched another episode of "The Duchess" in which the main characters "did the dirty deed" whilst fully clothed. This seems to happen quite a lot on telly; I can't help but wonder if that is how "the dirty deed" is supposed to be done (it's been a while...)

Just as I was about to leave for work, Pogo appeared and wanted to "go" outside (as thankfully the majority of dogs in our house do). However he does have to "go outside" on the shingle. Another garden project will be fencing off the shingled areas. Dung is much easier harvested from a lawn than it is from stones.

 

Having had a (quite literally) crappy start to the day I set off to work through a rather wet and foggy morning. Pausing only briefly to stick a bar code to a lamp post and capture a Trojan unicorn (it’s a Munzee thing) I was soon driving up the motorway. The pundits on the motorway were talking about the state of professional football. Despite lockdown and no matches having live crowds watching, the top-notch players are still commanding ridiculous wages even though the smaller clubs are struggling. Apparently Macclesfield football club is being wound up over debts of half a million quid, whilst footballer Gareth Bale is being paid over half a million quid a week.

It was suggested that the clubs that can afford to pay players millions of pounds might subsidise the struggling clubs. Some of the clubs that can afford to pay players millions of pounds have made the observation that you don't see Amazon bailing out the corner shops. They might have a point - it's called "captialism" (or screw-you-mate-I'm-all-right), but that is a rant I've done to death.

 

There was then all sorts of drivel about the Brexit negotiations,  but I laughed out loud when some COVID-denier came on  the radio. Incensed about pubs having to close early he admitted that his views were in a minority. But he insisted that a fundamental principle of democracy was that society must respect the views of the minorities.

I wonder where he got that idea from?

 

I got to work; I did my bit. there was cake, so the day wasn't a bad one. Once home, with a little time on my hands I took the dogs to Orlestone Woods where things soon went pear-shaped. As we walked along a path we use several times every week Pogo and Treacle were chasing each other and ran past a couple of people who were walking along the path toward us. I’d seen them coming and had thought nothing of it until one started screaming and started kicking out at the dogs even though neither dog came within five yards of them. Needless to say Pogo started barking, and before I could get my whistle from my pocket the non-screaming one had yanked up a length of bramble and was trying to whip the dogs with it. I had the dogs with me within seconds, and made the observation that if either of them hurt my dogs then I would hurt them. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said this, but I’m a bit soppy where my dogs are concerned. The older of the two screeched that the younger was autistic, and so that (apparently) gives him carte blanche to kick out at anyone and anything he cares to kick out at (dogs are a favourite target of his). He then screeched that my dogs should be on leads (even though the autistic one would have kicked at a dog on a lead). He said he was going to report me for having dangerous dogs that had attacked him (even though it was him and his autistic associate that had done the attacking). And he finished off by threatening me with physical violence. All of which was interspersed with the f-word between every other word.

I would have thought that picking a fight with someone twice your size who has three (supposedly) dangerous dogs wasn’t the cleverest thing to do, but what do I know?

The rest of the walk was rather dull after that.

 

Once home I posted to the local Facebook dog walking page to warn others about these two, then posted out some birthday wishes. I’d not had time this morning. As the evening wore on I received a message from a friend of the family of the people with whom I’d had the earlier altercation asking me to remove the photo I’d posted on the local Facebook dog walking page. Hopefully they’ve seen the error of their ways.

And then the admin of the local Facebook dog walking page posted saying that he himself was autistic and that I was supposed to allow an autistic person to hit my dogs. And one or two others agreed with him.

Funny old world… I thought I was providing a public service by warning the dog-walking community. Oh well… no good deed ever goes unpunished.

We had a rather good bit of dinner (washed down with a mediocre bottle of plonk) while watching today’s episode of “Bake Off”. Last week some American friends mentioned that Matt Lucas hadn’t gone down well with the American viewers. Last week I wrote “I wondered how Matt Lucas would fare in the show; so far he’s doing OK…” And he is doing OK… but only “OK”. He’s not brilliant…

28 September 2020 (Monday) - Early Shift

A rather restless night; between dogs whinging and "er indoors TM" snoring I didn’t sleep much. But on the plus side Sid hadn’t crapped all over the kitchen floor, so I’m taking that as something of a minor victory.

As I scoffed a bowl of mixed berry muesli (it wasn’t all that good) I watched the first episode of “The Duchess”, a thirty-something show with a difference. The difference being it is pretty much the same as all the other thirty-something shows. But it passed half an hour.

 

I then peered into the Internet. I saw an advert on Facebook that made me snigger. Apparently my strange dreams might actually be messages from God, and I was invited to a five-day course to interpret what Big G wanted from me.

It always strikes me that the Almighty has something of a problem with communication. If he wanted anything from me he could shout instructions from on-high, couldn’t he?. I would have thought that sending me screwed-up dreams and then having to get some Internet crackpot to explain them wasn’t the most efficient way to communicate, but what do I know?

 

Pausing only briefly for Munzical reasons I was soon driving up the motorway listening to the drivel spouted by the pundits on the motorway. Finally Donald Trump's tax history has come to light. Apparently he's paid next to no tax whatsoever over the last fifteen years, but the American electorate see this as something to aspire to. There was also a lot made of the fact that his opponent in the upcoming presidential election is well into his eighties, seems to forget what he's talking about mid-sentence and probably won't live out a term in office. Perhaps the orange idiot will stay in the White House for another five years. That would be a shame purely because of the attraction he is for those whose job it is to keep the world appraised of current affairs. As I've said before, Donald Trump is very much like Zaphod Beeblebrox in that he doesn't so much wield power as draw attention away from those who do.

There was also a lot of talk about Michael Gove (Secretary for State for who-knows-what) who is off to Europe to negotiate the post-Brexit deal. Apparently there is still a lot to sort out. Bearing in mind that Boris Johnson won a landslide victory at the last election on the strength of already having a deal ready to go, I have to wonder just what else the Prime Minister has lied about.

I stopped off on my way to work to check on that geocache I hid last week. Six days and still no one has found it....

 

I got to work and did that which I could not avoid. But an early start made for an early finish (which is why I like the early shifts). And this time I remembered to stop off at Stonecraft Paving Centre as I came home. I knew exactly what I wanted, and asked the nice man for some cobbles. He laughed, and told me that since lockdown there has been a national shortage of cobbles, shingles and all manner of loose aggregates. It has been some months since he has had anything larger than pea-sized to offer to his customers. I smiled sweetly and went to B&Q where they had every sort and every size of decorative stone known to science (and several others too).

I got what I needed, came home and took the dogs to Orlestone Woods where I saw another black squirrel. A passer-by told me there are white squirrels down there too.

A little later on our walk I saw a couple of old ladies. On seeing us they frantically started blowing on a rather crappy whistle. I wasn’t sure what they were doing, so I gave three blasts on my whistle and got my dogs on their leads just in case. One of the old ladies looked at her dog running amok and asked me how I did it. Apparently she saw me doing whistle training a week or so ago and was so impressed she got her own whistle. But her dogs just ignore it. When she blows it they carry on doing their own thing. No one had ever explained to her that the dog has to associate the sound of the whistle with getting a treat; that was a revelation to her. She went on to say that she’d lost a dog, described her missing dog and asked me to keep an eye out for it. Ten minutes (and several hundred yards) later I saw a “white barrel with a black head” sauntering down the path without a care in the world, quite happily doing his own thing.

It is rather refreshing to meet dogs that are worse behaved than mine. 

With walk walked I painted up that part of the planned water feature that needed painting. "er indoors TM" boiled up a good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching quiz shows on telly. I’m getting quite into those… such a shame I fall asleep half-way through.

27 September 2020 (Sunday) - Linton

Just as I’d made my toast and poured out my coffee so Fudge appeared and asked to go out. My toast and coffee then got cold as he played his favourite game of “silly beggars” as he marched round the garden checking to see if it was all as he’d left it yesterday.

As I ate cold toast and drank cold coffee I peered into the Internet. There was a rather tedious squabble kicking off on geocaching dot com about the official sizes of geocaches. What is “small”, what is “micro”? Does it matter, and who cares? It would seem that it does matter… Had I discovered the Facebook “Geocaching UK” page before I had discovered the Kent geocaching community I would long since have given up the hobby. It is supposed to be a bit of fun.

I also saw a friend had been to an event at Leeds Castle yesterday which was specifically for NHS staff. I knew nothing about this. One lives and learns. I wouldn’t have gone, but it would have been nice to have known about it.

 

We got ourselves organised for the day, we had our bags packed and the leads on to the dogs who were coming with us. The planned walk was far too much for Sid so he was staying behind. We were just about to settle him down when he sharted. It has to be said that Sid doesn’t muck about in the toilet department, and when he sharts, he sharts to the limit and beyond. So we spent ten minutes clearing up dog diarrhoea. With dog dung cleared up we then found some more… We weren’t *that* late getting out, but it would be today that the road was closed at Leeds Castle.

 

We eventually got to the car park at Linton Church where we met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and we set off on a little walk. During the week a new series of geocaches had gone live in the area, and we thought that they might make for a good walk.

They did.

Have you ever walked round Linton? Admittedly it is rather hilly, but it is beautiful. Our route took us along rather quiet country lanes and along footpaths through very pretty countryside with amazing views. A lot of the route went through orchards, and the dogs could run off of the leads for much of the walk. There’s no denying the weather could have been better; it was spitting with rain as we started, but the rain soon cleared up.

About half way round we spotted a couple of people walking behind us who looked as though they’d stopped at the previous geocache. And then my phone rang. It was the people behind us – it was Aleta. We stopped and waited for her to catch up, and we walked the last part of the walk as a (socially-distanced) group.

The wind was quite strong, but we found a sheltered spot in the woods where we had our picnic. The dogs had rice with broccoli and carrots and stilton (in honour of two-thirds of them having had a birthday on Friday), the ladies had flavoured cider, and I had a bottle of Gadds’ No5 and a bottle of Badger’s Golden Champion.

Geocache-wise this was an excellent walk. Straight-forward hides on an easy-to-follow route. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who fancies finding out what it is that I do with the dogs most weekends.

I took one or two photos as we walked too…

 

I dozed much of the way home. I wasn’t at all sleepy a week ago having walked sixteen miles; today I was all-in after five miles. What was that all about?

We came home, and immediately bundled all the dogs into the garden so that we could clean up what I can only describe as diarrhoea central. Sid had been confined to the non-carpeted bits of the house while we had been out, but still had made quite a mess of his blankets. He seems to have very little control of his rear end these days, and he is a delicate little blossom. The other dogs can eat pretty much anything and just fart a lot, but Sid’s constitution isn’t quite as robust.

 

I watched three episodes of Bob Ross’s “The Joy of Painting” whilst "er indoors TM" boiled up dinner, then we scoffed a very good dinner washed down with a good bottle of plonk. As we scoffed we watched two episodes of “Richard Osman’s House of Games”. Have you noticed how all the celebrity contestants clap themselves in these TV quiz shows? I wish they wouldn’t…